Crispy Fried Calamari

I love seafood, and in particular squid (calamari is its Italian name).  Whenever I’m on holiday I always get excited about sampling the fresh seafood, and in Greece last year I think me and my friend had grilled octopus for dinner nearly every day!   I love crispy calamari, but chances of going to a restaurant in the UK or anywhere and asking for a grain-free/gluten-free batter are probably slim to none (if anyone knows of anywhere please let me know!)  Anyway, I’m lucky enough to live in an area of London which is full of Portuguese shops, one of which is also a fantastic fishmongers (Madeira So Peixe on South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall) so I have access to some great seafood – sadly fresh calamari isn’t always easy to get in a supermarket in London.  Apart from giving it a wash they do sell it whole, so you have to be very brave when removing the ink sac and other nasty bits, but hey ho – that doesn’t bother me in the slightest!  I’d seen a recipe for crispy calamari in a paleo cookbook which used pecan nut flour but as far as I know that doesn’t exist in the UK?  Perhaps ground almonds (again….) would work instead?  Well I was wandering in an Indian food store a while back and stumbled across a flour which was labeled chestnut flour.  Thinking this was the same as the Italian chestnut flour I’d been looking for I bought 2 packets there and then.  Later I realised it was actually water chestnut flour (in my defense it was labelled something else – Singoda Flour) and having no idea what to do with it, I researched a bit on the internet.

“A type of flour ground from water chestnuts, which are the edible tubers of an aquatic plant that grows along the muddy edges of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams or is cultivated commercially in flooded fields. Water chestnut flour is used more as a thickener and a coating for foods rather than as an ingredient for baked goods. When used as a thickener, water chestnut flour is usually stirred into water first before it is added to hot liquids and sauces. This technique reduces the formation of lumps that may otherwise occur (similar to cornstarch). Foods that are to be fried can be dredged in water chestnut flour to create a coating on the food. Water chestnut flour is available in some large food stores, natural and health food stores, and in Asian markets.”

Fantastic!  What about using it for crispy calamari??  Here goes….


Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 v large squid  – gutted, cleaned and sliced into rings
  • 1/2 cup Singoda flour
  • 2 Tablespoon flaxseed (not essential I added for extra crunch)
  • 1 egg
  • splash coconut milk
  • Lemon zest
  • Seasoning
  • Coconut oil


  • Pre-heat a griddle pan with coconut oil (or a frying pan).
  • Beat the egg (you may need a little coconut milk to make it go further) and add seasoning.
  • Sprinkle the flour and flax on a large plate add lemon zest.
  • Dip the squid in the egg mix then into the plate of flour.
  • Cook on a hot griddle pan, turning whilst cooking to avoid burning. When flour is browned squid is done. Don’t over cook the squid or it will taste rubbery.
  • Serve with fresh coriander/parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

I had mine with a colourful salad.  Spicy greens and coriander courtesy of my window boxes!


2 thoughts on “Crispy Fried Calamari

  1. shami

    Hi Ceri. I love reading your recipes and your pics make me hungry (!) but haven’t tried any yet. Will post when I do. On this one, do you think Coconut flour would work? Thanks.

    1. Ceri @CucinaCeri Post author

      Thanks Shami – that’s really lovely to hear. Please do make away – and let me know when you’ve done. I love to hear that people have cooked my recipes – that’s the entire reason I write this blog. Coconut flour is very absorbent and a different texture so I’m not sure it would work in the same way. I may have to experiment. You could try but reduce the flour quantity by 2/3rds It may not go crispy thought and you would probably be better using ground almonds (or a combo of almonds and coconut flour), as almonds crisp up nicely. I hope that helps…?


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